Explosive second half propels Patriots to win
October 15, 2013
By Christina Corrales-Toy
Liberty High School soccer coach Tami Nguyen must have said something rather poignant during her halftime speech to the team in an Oct. 8 match against Interlake.
The Patriots ended the first half down 1-0. The second half was a different story, however, as Liberty erupted for five goals, clinching a 5-3 victory against the Saints.
Nguyen’s halftime pep talk to the team was short and simple, according to Liberty defender Shaniah Adriano.
“’Horrible start,’ that’s the first thing coach said,” Adriano said.
The second-year Liberty coach went on to talk about the team’s decision-making in the first half, and what needed to change as they prepared for the second.
“We weren’t necessarily playing bad, it’s just our decisions weren’t the smartest thing, and she said to play simpler and more connected as a team,” Liberty forward Kali Youngdahl said.
The Patriots did just that, scoring their first goal of the game just minutes into the second half when senior Ashlan Applegate found the net, with a Youngdahl assist.
“Kali passed it to me, it was right in front of the goal and just right foot into the net,” Applegate said.
Liberty took its first lead of the game when sophomore Jordan Hemmen scored, this time with an Applegate assist.
The lead would be short lived, though, as Interlake tied it up, 2-2. The Saints then took the lead just three minutes later.
The Patriots tied it up, 3-3, with an improbable penalty kick from just past midfield. The Interlake keeper appeared to have the kick by Liberty senior Adriano in hand, but she was unable to palm it and it sailed just above her fingers.
After she saw what looked like an Interlake save, Adriano turned and looked away from the goal, assuming she had come up short. Seconds later, she was mobbed by teammates.
“I kicked it and I was like, ‘Wow, that was a horrible ball,’ because it was really lofted,” Adriano said. “Then, I turned around and the ball was in the net. I was just shocked because I thought someone else finished it. I didn’t think I scored.”
Liberty junior Samantha Harrell found the right upper corner of the net for what would be the game-winning goal, giving the Patriots a 4-3 lead.
The team would go on to add one more insurance goal, when Youngdahl scored with a Jacquelyn Anderson assist.
Last year, the Patriots breezed through the regular season on their way to the KingCo 3A title and a fourth-place finish at state.
After having four college-level players from last year’s team graduate, this year’s squad has had to go through a bit of an adjustment period in the first half of the season, Applegate said.
“It’s a rough start,” she said, “just trying to figure out how everyone plays. Watching last year, it’s just completely different. I think a lot of people have had to step up.”
It took a while for the Patriots to find their rhythm as a team this season, but as the second half revs up, Youngdahl said she thinks they have found it.
“I think this half we’ve figured it out and we actually have more opportunities now,” she said.
One thing that is helping the Patriots stay focused is the fact that they have the same coach for consecutive years for the first time in four years.
“It’s more comfortable I think, because one year is enough time to get used to a coach, but multiple years you get more comfortable, and you get more personal with the coach and the coach knows you more as a player,” Youngdahl said of Nguyen.
Liberty vs. Sammamish
- 7:30 p.m. Oct. 17
- Liberty High School